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EU unveils new immigration strategy

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The European Union unveiled a new immigration strategy last week that outlines plans to attract more foreign workers in the coming years to deal with skills shortages and make it easier for immigrants to obtain visas.

Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom announced several programs that she said would make it easier for legal immigrants to enter the EU; There will be a stronger focus on mobility and visa policy.

According to Malmstrom, the measures would help immigrants find jobs in the EU that match their skills. The new approach is detailed in a renewed 'Global Approach to Migration and Mobility' (GAMM) ; This will setup partnerships with non-EU countries to come up with common immigration policies.

"The new EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility represents the strategic framework which is necessary to bring added value to the EU's and Member States' action in this area," said Malmstrom.

The GAMM has two components:
  • Mobility partnerships will be formed with Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt and the EU to discuss agreements on visas and readmission requirements,.
  • Migration and Mobility Resource Centres will be setup to provide skills and labour matching for individuals from partner countries.
Although unemployment across the EU is nearly 9.5 percent, Europe's population is getting older and there will not be enough people to fill certain skilled job vacancies, Malmstrom said.

"Over the next two or three years, the European Union as a whole will need about 2 million people in the health sector, for example, doctors and nurses," she said. "We know that some specific countries need engineers, they need IT specialists and so on."

Additionally, the EU launched a website this month to provide information for foreigners interested in moving to the EU. Applicants can use the portal to find out what opportunities exist to work or study in the EU.

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